Jonathan Stewart likely to return against Falcons in Week 9

Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Stewart won't play this week, but he hopes to make his season debut in Week 9.

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart says his ankle is feeling good and he hopes to make his season debut against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 9.

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Stewart returned to practice on a limited basis Tuesday. He won't play in Thursday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but has a chance to return the week after with the team getting 10 days off. The Panthers now have 21 days to activate him from the Reserve/PUP List. Stewart missed the first six games dealing with injuries to both his ankles. He has been plagued by the injuries in the past two seasons, playing in only nine games in 2009.

DeAngelo Williams has been carrying the load with Stewart out, recording 434 rushing yards on 106 carries, but has yet to score a touchdown this season and his production has faded in recent weeks. He's expected to go back into a committee when Stewart returns, with Mike Tolbert taking the goal-line snaps.

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